Heliopoli_Full_EX83Butterflies, like cloud formations, diminish as one grows older.

Weren’t there more butterflies around when you were younger? Don’t you remember seeing at least one every day in the spring?

Weren’t there enormous tumbling formations of cumulus cloud every so often, making mountains in the sky, full of coral colors of orange, pink and sunset red, vast and glowing? And now … do you see them? How often?

There are fewer butterflies in the world today. The Earth does not make those magical clouds anymore. Or is it that you no longer notice them? When it comes to butterflies and clouds, one can never know what is a function of perception or reality.

But butterflies love Heliopoli. There are clouds of butterflies here. Monarchs, especially, swoop in and around the buildings with the sound of rustling satin. Orange and amber glistens from mirrored glass. A breath of wind flutters eyelashes as they go by.

Butterflies have discovered Heliopoli. We’ve discovered butterflies here.

They land on cheeks with a whisper. They tell us they’ve returned, but only for a short while — brief, like the beat of a butterfly’s wings. Like memory.